North Western Namibia

Hi All, just returned from an 11day trip with 3 great friends to the Northern and Western Namibia and thought I should post a short note about our birding etc. Route was Cape Town, Keetmanshoop, Otjwarongo, Kunene, Kamanjab, Uis, Swakopmund, Windhoek, Springbok and back to Cap[e Town.

Our target birds were the Ruacana specials, Grey Kestrel, Cinderella Waxbill, Madagascar Bee-eater, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush and Bare-faced Babbler and boy did we see them!

We spent 3 nights at the Kunene River Lodge and had seen them all by 10am on the first morning, the Kestrel on our drive in and over the next few days they were all seen in front of our bungalow except the Grey Kestrel.  The Palm Thrush and Mozambique Bee-eaters became a trash birds and we saw at least 10-15 Cinderella Waxbills feeding.  The Red-necked Francolin with white face (“var cunensis”) was great to see as were Hartlaub’s Francolin.  The Red-capped Larks were so washed out with little red only on the back of the head and light red on the shoulders.  Swamp Boubous were all over the camp.   On one of our walks to another Cinderella Waxbill and Hartlaubs Francolin site, we encountered a large raptor which Graham photographed which we called African Hawk Eagle as we were concentrating on the Waxbills. How wrong we were as it turned out to be an Ayres Eagle and way out of its area and of course a new bird for the Lodge. We however found 2 birds which we could not identify, one Canary/Sparrow-weaver like bird with a teardrop stripe and another flycatcher size bird with a long cone shaped light orange bill.  Pics were taken but could not find it in Birds of Southern Africa south of the Sahara!  Some work to be done here!  The wow bird for me at Kunene was the Bennets Woodpecker(buysi) that has a soft orange chest with no spots at all, really a great bird and I think they should split it.  At supper one night a Bat Hawk flew past 3 times!  This was a first for the Lodge.  Monteiro’s Hornbills were found foraging in the dry scrub away from the river as was Bradfields on the way.

Bare-faced Babbler, Madagascar Bee-eater, Hartlaub's Francolin, Grey Kestrel, Rufous-Talied Palm Thrush, Cinderella Waxbill, Bennets Woodpecker